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Egypt's place in the Arab world

By Olfat M. El TohamySpecial to The Christian Science Monitor / November 3, 1982



Cairo

With the prospect of Arab-Israeli reconciliation improving, Egypt seems closer to regaining recognition of its position in the Arab world.

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But any improvement in high-level contacts or renewal of informal diplomatic ties is unlikely to immediately reverse the economic and political boycott imposed on Egypt by a collective Arab decision three years ago.

In fact, no decision was made at the recent Arab summit in Fez, Morocco, to publicly end the boycott, originally put in place to punish Egypt for its peace with Israel. But the summit did leave the Arab states free to reestablish relations on their own.

Recent events have tended to emphasize diplomatic rather than military solutions in the Mideast. In his Sept. 1 peace plan, President Reagan proposed a Palestinian autonomous entity in association with Jordan. The plan would bring moderate Jordan into the negotiating process started between Egypt and Israel at Camp David.

Two nations ready to negotiate with Egypt are Jordan and Lebanon. Morocco and Iraq have called publicly for ending the ban on Egypt as well. Morocco's King Hassan II is looking forward to more Egyptian military aid - particularly since the Polisario government in control of the Western Sahara claimed by Morocco has vowed to step up attacks. Iraq has also received Egyptian backing in its war with Iran.